Today’s Progress on Danae

Newberry, Danae wip
Newberry, Danae wip

Happy New Year!

During this covid time I have been working everyday on Danae. As you all know it takes a lot of energy to maintain a glowing, optimistic, and benevolent view of life when a lot bad things are happening worldwide. What you may not know, but for an artist to create a feeling of joy in a painting, especially a major one, is that the artist (me) has to feel it at his core. This feeling has to be accessible. It is not a intellectual thing or just a matter of will.

Rembrandt changed his style in the middle of painting his Danae. He went from a hyper realism to a more glowing, ethereal light. He finished it in the realistic manner in 1636, then reworked it sometime before 1643, and some accounts before 1650. It was roughly a decade of work.

Like Rembrandt, Danae caught me between styles, as I developed my unique color theory with the Wave Series, which was done after I started painting on Danae. I am somewhere in year three working on her. But there are several other elements to the painting that make it exceedingly difficult:

The legend of Danae was that Zeus came to her disguised in the shower of gold coins (indicating she became a prostitute for Zeus). Rembrandt changed it to Zeus coming to her as radiance. And I am changing it to she is the radiance, the source.

I also got rid of the mythic and the cupid by the setting of model in my studio. It doesn’t get any better than a nude model glowing with radiance, bringing their best, and being a vivacious muse for a project. Thank you Janette.

Reworking the painting adapting the color theory to it was crazy time consuming and difficult. But it contributes to my version being unique like no other painting before it.

The composition is likewise unique, the background objects seem to rotate around her. The composition is also integrated with erotic symbolism: the accent on the phallic symbolism of the wood bars and poles, the table legs, the chair’s cylinders, and the long cast shadows. These contrast beautifully with all her curvaceous shapes.

I am very close to finishing. That said, I am adding tiny details like fingernail’’ lunula, glints in her eyes, and nuanced molding of her forms. Hopefully very soon, I don’t see anything else to do, and the forms just radiate light.

Wish me luck.

Frame of References:
Brief history of Rembrandt’s Danae. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana%C3%AB_(Rembrandt_painting)

Newberry, Michael. Erotic Symbolism in Visual Art. https://newberryarchive.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/erotic-symbolism-in-visual-art/

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